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French President Announces Three-pronged Security Partnership with India

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi. With China’s growing focus in southern Indian Ocean region, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a three-pronged security partnership with India in this region.

Macron said India and France were sharing the analysis of joint maritime security in the southern Indian Ocean, working on a joint maritime surveillance in the region and looking at possible deployment of an Indian Navy maritime patrol vessel in Reunion Island from the first quarter of 2020.

In an indirect reference to China’s designs on the western and southern Indian Ocean Region, the French President said, “we must protect the Great Indo-Pacific space for no hegemony to reign. A security presence in the region is essential for building this freedom in sovereignty and for establishing a common agenda.”

“Together with India, we have been working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a shared ocean vision and strengthened our operational cooperation for stability and security in the region….It’s an unprecedented movement, a very profound change. A few years ago we had never planned to engage with our Indian friends here in the same way as the operations we did recently. This is the reality of this strategic agenda that we share,” he said.

Macron said, “This common security agenda in the region is an agenda of maritime surveillance, protection of our marine areas, construction of a joint agenda to avoid any form of hegemony or intrusion and it is noted that France is the second largest maritime power in the world.”

The French President’s comments came at the event where ministers of India, France and Vanilla Islands (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean) met to explore economic and development partnership. India was represented by the minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan at the first such ministerial meet.

India, in partnership with France, is keen to focus on port development, blue economy, trade, connectivity, tourism, skill development, hospitality and healthcare in this resource-rich region, said people are aware of the matter. India is also eyeing gas deposits in the Mozambique Channel near Vanilla Islands.

“Based on a shared commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific zone, maritime security cooperation between France and India is a domain of excellence in their strategic partnership,” said the joint statement.